Dangote Industries Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN) have commenced immediate reconstruction of Apapa Wharf Road in Lagos with concrete overlay.
The construction is being handled by AGDangote, a subsidiary of the group at the cost of N4.3 billion.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government recently in Lagos signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the two companies to repair the road.
They have constructed concrete roads in Ibese, Ogun State and currently working on roads in Obajana, in Kogi State.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Honorary Adviser to the President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Engineer Joseph Makoju said the Group is moved by the deplorable state of the road, which informed the need to look for like-thinking partners to effect repairs and salvage the road.
According to him, the deplorable state of the road has impacted negatively on businesses, activities and lives of people within the locality.
He explained that the state of the road crippled economic activities as people spend whole days in traffic losing precious work hours
Makoju opined that the two kilometer road to the gate of Apapa is vital to the nation’s economy and described it as the national economy’s artery.
He commended the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, who he said put in extra efforts to ensure the handing over of the road for reconstruction as the project has been on ground for over a year.
The new road, he said will be concrete based in contrast to laterite base and has a life span of between 30 years to 50 years.
He described the road reconstruction as a higher form of corporate social responsibility as Dangote Group is not asking for tax rebates. According to him, businesses need to engage with host communities through corporate social responsibility projects to ensure sustainability.
He said, “here at Dangote, we have built houses, new towns, hospitals, schools, roads, markets and awarded scholarships in the communities where we have our operations but this is a higher form of corporate social responsibility. This project is a higher form of intervention on a national level, intervening in provision of critical infrastructure.”
However, he tasked government to do more in terms of providing a conducive and enabling business environment for businesses to thrive stressing that If the environment is conducive and right, businesses will thrive and do more in terms of interventions in national infrastructure.
Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola in his remarks at the event said, “We are here to embark on what will be the final solution to a massive inconvenience business and people in Apapa suffered over the years. Apapa is the nation’s first industrial base and was served by a good rail system. Cargo and containers were moved by rail to all parts of the country. The road network was for transport of passengers. The roads were good.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has directed truck drivers blocking roads in Apapa to vacate within seven days to enable the commencement of reconstruction work on Wharf Road.
The port access corridor which would boost smooth ports operation has been neglected for a long time has hampered economic activities.
Apart from the truckers the government also ordered telecommunications service providers and other operators to relocate their service cables on the Right of Way (RoW) of the project for work to begin.
The Managing Director of AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd, Mr Ashif Juma, said that strategies had been put in place to speed up construction work.
Juma explained that the drainage channels were going to be constructed with precast elements which were ready to be moved to site.
“We are ready to begin the drainage works by next week because we are using precast elements and they are ready.
Juma explained that the meeting was also important in order to schedule a traffic plan to make the site available for reconstruction.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, few days ago handed over the site to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd. for reconstruction.
However for the smooth commence of the road reconstruction truck owners have called on the government to provide alternative routes to ease port operations at Apapa port.